Five local nonprofits are recipients of 2019 Momentum Grants. Now in its third year, the 2019 grant awards totaled $27,000, an increase of $7,000 (26%) from 2018 and $17,000 (270%) from 2017. Momentum grants fuel projects and programs that help people who are facing poverty build momentum as they take steps to reach their potential and positively impact our community.
Just Food of Douglas County, KS, Inc. received $10,000 to continue KitchenWorks, a culinary program that teaches the skills needed to gain professional restaurant employment in a short time. The training includes menu planning and costing, knife skills, cooking methods and sanitation, as well as soft skills such as communication, leadership and problem solving. The training is in a hands-on, industry environment designed to motivate and inspire the students. Participants receive job placement assistance to guide them on the path to gainful employment.
Family Promise of Lawrence received $3,000 for Life Skills Classes which are offered weekly to family promise participants and graduates of the program throughout the year. The courses have a direct correlation to the mission-focused areas of helpful content, including good tenancy, financial literacy, healthy emotional boundaries, diffusing conflict, nurturing parenting skills, and healthy cooking on a budget. There is also a focus on additional social determinants of health with a range of topics including: income, education, physical environments, social supports and physical and behavioral health. The Life Skills classes also provide personal and social connections for Family Promise families.
University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., received $7,600 for the program Ending Generational Poverty: Young Women of Color Thriving in Schools Through a Girl-Centered Curriculum that Promotes Wholeness. This program focuses on ending generational poverty while integrating a girl-centered curriculum that utilizes Spoken Word to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Grant funding will be used to provide tailored educational services, meals, workshops, and a conference.
The Willow Domestic Violence Center, Survivor Crisis to Stability Momentum Fund was awarded $4,000. Funds will be used for one-time expenses that directly impact survivors’ ability to move towards their goals of independence and financial well-being. The focus will be on educational and training expenses such as professional licenses and textbooks, as well as one-time costs that support employment and housing success.
Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., was awarded $4,000 for My Turn – getting beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck program. Funds will help support Housing & Consumer Credit Counseling & Education for Douglas County households who are working hard, sometimes at more than one job, but find they can never get ahead. Through financial literacy education, HCCI will help participants move from crisis to stability. HCCI will be connecting with citizens in two ways: 1) through classes at local nonprofits and Lawrence Library and 2) through one-on-one counseling based on the client’s personal circumstances, income, expenses, life challenges.
The Momentum Grant program was established in 2017 at the Douglas County Community Foundation by the Rob and Micki Chestnut family. “We believe that each person possesses great power for good,” said Micki. “When they are given the support they need to overcome challenges and achieve their goals, our entire community benefits.”
The annual Momentum Grant cycle begins in early spring and grants are awarded in May each year.